In an age of electronic fame and instant notoriety, the array of media darlings has become dizzying. Reality shows and online channels (www.youtube.com ) have enabled anyone with a computer to market themselves and strut their stuff for all the world to see—good, bad or indifferent. Gone are the days of real-deal superstars, and in their place, we have pop-up pop stars, wannabes and an endless parade of (IMHO) people with no discernible talent, but access to a platform which may (or may not) propel them into the spotlight. Since the world at large seems to be waxing nostalgic about the Beatles this week, I joined in and took a stroll down Penny Lane myself, recalling the hysteria, angry parents and dire warnings regarding the end of the world, brought on 50 years ago by four guys in suits.
My 12-year-old sister was one of the millions reduced to tears by the Fab Four’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and (not wanting to feel left out) I, too, became intently interested in the group, especially when learning that the folks did not approve. At first, it wasn’t really about the music, since hearing the tunes (on TV) above the din of shrieking, caterwauling teenage girls was impossible. We weren’t allowed to use the hi-fi that my father reserved for the recording artists that my parents loved, Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Garland, but our insistence led the folks to purchase a portable turntable (with removable speakers!) that I had to share with my sibling. Like their parents before them, my folks bitterly complained about the degradation of the music world, but I was allowed to close the bedroom door while putting needle to vinyl and playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” over and over, in an endless loop of Beatlemania. I’m not sure how it happened, but my mom came home one day with an “Official Beatles Fan Club” package for me, which included a flannel-lined wig (resembling a gorilla fur moptop), which I insisted on wearing to school, to the grocery store and (much to my father’s chagrin) to bed.
It was the Beatles who introduced me to romantic love, and tunes like “If I Fell,” “In My Life,” “And I Love Her” and “Michelle,” have certainly stood the test of time. With Valentine’s Day interest in full swing, I’m observing the online chatter regarding the many opportunities for lovebirds to celebrate here in the Upper Delaware River Valley, while refusing to lament being a bachelor. I’ve never really defined myself by my relationship status, and with Dharma (the Wonder Dog) ever at my side, don’t feel a need to join the “Lonely Hearts Club Band,” so I plan to catch a few events centered around all things Cupid.
Friday’s “Valentine’s Love-In” in Liberty (www.greendoormag,com ) shows promise, while on Saturday, Carol Montana will once again present “Shorts & Sweets for Sweethearts” at the United Methodist Church in Monticello, and with song stylist Patti Greco Sunshine on the bill, it is likely to provide a wonderful, long and winding road to romance. For reservations, call 845/707-1417. I’ve had an ongoing love affair with Peter Florance and the New Kings for years, so it’s likely that I’ll pop by the Dancing Cat Saloon in Bethel, NY (also on Saturday) to catch the band belting out some off-beat love songs before heading to Livingston Manor, where I will be participating in the first of a 12-part project with other local writers, all intent on creating their memoirs (www.catskillartsociety.org ). The Catskill Art Society (CAS), in partnership with the Yarnslingers group (www.facebook.com/yarnslingers ), will be hosting monthly readings, as the authors share their life stories, some of which will undoubtedly focus on love.
With scads of opportunities to celebrate with someone special, check out The River Reporter’s calendar of events. As for “This Boy,” I plan to relive the Beatles’ arrival in the states through the magic of video, recalling my youth and first love, while searching online for one of those fun-fur wigs. Seems like it was only “Yesterday.”